The definitive family biography of President Donald Trump.
The revealing story of the Trumps mirrors America’s transformation from a land of striving immigrants to a world in which the aura of wealth alone can guarantee a fortune. The Trumps begins with a portrait of President Trump’s immigrant grandfather, who as a young man built hotels for miners in Alaska during the Klondike gold rush. His son, Fred, took advantage of the New Deal, using government subsidies and loopholes to construct hugely successful housing developments in the 1940s and 1950s. The profits from Fred’s enterprises paved the way for President Trump’s roller-coaster ride through the 1980s and 1990s into the new century.
With his talent for extravagant exaggeration—he calls it “truthful hyperbole”—President Trump turned the deal-making know-how of his forebears into an art form. By placing this much-publicized life within the context of family, Gwenda Blair adds a new dimension to the larger-than-life figure who ascended to the American Presidency.
This well-balanced, serious examination of the Trump family business proves its mettle by not mentioning The Donald's love life until it approaches page 300, and even then Blair is more concerned about Ivana's influence on Trump's business sense than on his hormones. While Donald is the star of Blair's work, his father and grandfather emerge as colorful characters in their own right. Arriving from Germany in 1885, Friedrich Trump spent a brief time in New York before striking out for Alaska, where he operated combined saloon-restaurant-brothels in several gold rush towns. When things went sour, Trump returned to New York, where he opened a modest real estate office in Queens that his son, Fred Jr., would greatly expand. Taking advantage of government programs designed to spur construction during the Depression, the middle Trump made his reputation by constructing well-built houses and apartments for the middle class. Following WWII, when the government was eager to find ways to ease the housing shortage, he used his contacts in city government to become a multimillionaire and one of the biggest landlords in Brooklyn and Queens. But his son wasn't interested in the boroughs; Donald used his father's money to make his fortune in Manhattan and then in Atlantic City. Blair documents the painstaking process whereby Trump transformed the Commodore Hotel to the Grand Hyatt and made his first mark in New York. With access to the Trump family and their business associates, Blair (bestselling author of Almost Gone) gives a first-rate, firsthand account of Donald Trump's rise, fall and resurrection as a business tycoon, while also exploring the motivation that drove him to risk it all to seek even more fame and fortune.